Look, every once in a while, we lose. It happens to everyone, no matter who you are. But sometimes it's not just a loss. Maybe you've been playing poorly for an hour straight, someone in your group just keeps laying into you, or even something as simple as your game having long queues. Sometimes, whether it's due to a bad play, a poor game, or just some random toxicity or behavior, we tilt. It's not fun to tilt, nor is it healthy for yourself or your ELO. So what are some steps you can take in order to stop it?
The Simple Option - Take a Quick Break
This option is as light as they come. You had a bad game, now you can feel the tilt starting to creep in. You know what sounds good? Making a sandwich, taking a trip to the bathroom, watching a funny YouTube video, heck even taking a deep breath. These simple actions do one important thing, give you some time. Sure, it’s not a lot, but it’s something. Take a few seconds to just vent out all that blegh in your system and give yourself a minute before pushing onward and upward. This method is great, especially if it’s just the beginning of your day or you are playing with a group you like.
Be a Coach - Evaluate What Happened
Too many times you just want to try to shake off what happened last game and push on. You try to have short term memory and forge onward, it's only one game, it's only five games, it's only... hold up. Most of the games we play today have some sort of replay/game summary tool that we can use to our advantage. The replay system shouldn’t only be used to create that sick montage on YouTube, but also to save the bad games to see where it went off the rails. Watching a replay allows you, the star of that replay, to see why things happened the way they did.
This works especially well if you’re playing with a group and reflect together. This way you can be sure you're not only seeing it from your point of view, but also getting some outside perspective may help you correct something that has been holding you back from reaching that next level. There’s also just a good feeling in knowing what you have to focus on in the next game in order to fix what happened. You put in the postgame work, now show them what you’ve learned.
It’s Worse Than We Thought - Switch It Up
It seems as if you’ve lost more than a few games in a row and things are getting tense. You want to keep playing ranked, but your ELO has taken a major hit. Pop open that game library and see what else looks good. If you aren’t playing well, but don’t want to stop playing, just switch up the game you’re playing. You’ll probably want to avoid playing something like Dark Souls, Cuphead, Nioh, etc., because you’re trying to recover from your tilt not plunge yourself further into it. Try something co-op with your group or just switch to normal queue instead of ranked. Maybe even play that super long single-player game that you still haven’t finished. Just don’t click that queue button for another hour or so for ranked.
The Nuclear Option - It’s Time for a Vacation
This is the serious tilt. The "nothing’s going right, all my teammates are toxic, no matter what I do I can’t win, it’s been days since my last good streak, and I’m starting to legitimately hate this game" tilt. This may seem extreme, even crazy, but even though you enjoy playing games, sometimes you need an extended break. This isn’t the same as making a sandwich or taking a walk, this is a few days to a week. Getting frustrated over losing games is natural. It just means you take the game seriously and, like with any sport or game, want to play and perform your best. When we become too frustrated, it affects our mind, game, and sometimes even our body. In the worst possible scenario, I’ve seen players become so tilted they uninstall and quit the game entirely.
You care about this game which is why you care so much when you underperform, so don’t just quit on it or choose to hate it. Take a personal holiday to focus on some of your other hobbies for a while. You don’t have to stop playing all games, just that one. If you don’t want to fully stop, watch someone else play in a stream or competition. This’ll help you learn new tech while you’re not playing, but still be able to stay polished in your absence. Afraid you’re “abandoning” your group? As much as you want to fix your tilt, your team wants that as well. They should understand that you need to find your center in order to help make the group stronger.
Different methods work for different people. I’ve found the replay option with a group has helped me out the most. Not only did it help fix my problem, but we were able to go around the group and help everyone up their game. Whichever option you choose, remember, tilt happens. In the end, it’s all about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and getting back to a frame of mind to keep your ranked push going.
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